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LETTER: It's time to take action on local air quality

'We are all afraid to bite the hand that feeds us. But when the other hand is harming our health and altering our daily routines, it is time to take action'
Algoma Steel as seen from the St. Marys River.

SooToday received the following letter to the editor regarding Thursday's story: Tiny flakes of graphite rain down on Algoma Steel neighbours

Thank you to Mr. Traveson for drawing attention to a community “dirty secret”: poor air quality.

The reported responses from both the MECP and ASI, trivialize the neighbour's concern. Waiting for “rain” or an offer of a “car-wash” will not stop the pollution... (and sending the pollution south is not neighbourly!)

We are all afraid to “bite the hand that feeds us." But when the other hand is harming our health and altering our daily routines, it is time to take action.

For years (generations), our west-end neighbours (and “plant” workers) have been tolerating poor air quality; they literally “suck it up” ...daily! The resident's only remedy is to stay indoors and wait until the winds shift. For most, moving is not a viable option.

ASI is required to inform the MECP of all breaches of environmental regulations. The reported “beaching” event was not a “one off”; ASI reported 29 such “incidents” during July. In fact ASI reports dozens of “incidents” DAILY...see ( Many of the “incidents” are caused by failure of antiquated equipment or poor maintenance.

The purported “graphite flakes” can come from multiple sources and MAY be benign to most people. Other pollutants within the visible smoke (that you may smell but are too small to see), cause health issues for EVERYONE.

The proposed transition to EAF offers hope for the future but even if it is finally finished on time we will still have to tolerate the foul air for another 6 years. The new EAF will also bring its own environmental challenges.

In the meantime, we need the MECP, APH and our local politicians to take action to make the air more breathable for everyone.

If you observe pollution happening, call ASI (705-945-4568) or MECP (705-942-6354 )

Peter McLarty, vice-chair of Clean North

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